After getting reassurance that their 40th anniversary gala at Paisley Park would go on three weeks after Prince died there, Mixed Blood Theatre officials have called off their May 14 event.
Late Friday, ticket holders to the Mixed Blood event were informed of the cancellation by e-mail.
"We received news today at 5 p.m. that Bremer Trust, the court-appointed representative of Prince's estate, has decided to enforce a ban on all public events in Paisley Park for the time being, even those events already scheduled and under contract," wrote Mixed Blood managing director Amanda White Thietje. "That ban, then, includes Mixed Blood's 40th anniversary gala, Revelry: A Red-Tie Affair, and its subsequent after party."
Mixed Blood, located on Minneapolis' West Bank is known for its "culture-conscious casting."
"This all happened in the last 48 hours," theater artistic director Jack Reuler said Saturday. "On Friday at 2:15, the question was: Could we do a large tent on Paisley Park grounds? By 5, the answer was they didn't want to."
Thietje wrote that the news "shocked and dismayed Mixed Blood's staff and board." She said ticket holders are upset, as well.
"With eight days remaining before the event, there is so little time to cancel or change flights, return the outfit you bought or rented, and manage the disappointment of not experiencing that space on that evening, celebrating Mixed Blood's first 40 years and dancing to Prince's music," she wrote.
She said "Prince's staff, the Paisley Park team, had nothing to do with this decision. They have been gracious, generous and supportive."
Another event with a high-profile nonprofit organization set for Paisley Park this month will not take place there. Organizers are seeking an alternative site and did not want their group mentioned until ticket holders were notified.
About 1,000 people were expected to attend the sold-out Mixed Blood events.
Reuler said the event date was chosen a year ago, with Paisley Park secured as the venue in January. He said his contract with the Paisley event coordinator did not have a cancellation clause.
"Prince and his family and the [trust] attorneys were saying they want to see [the gala] happen but they were just trying to also protect the process," Reuler said. "I don't believe there's ill will."
Laura Krishnan, a lawyer representing Bremer, issued this statement on Sunday:
"We regret that the untimely death of Prince has created a disruption for charitable events planned at Paisley Park. In order to protect Prince's legacy, particularly the legacy that remains at Paisley Park, we believe it is necessary to close the location to outside events at this time. In addition, valuing the estate's assets continues and opening up the property to more than 1,000 people is in direct conflict with the duty to protect and preserve the estate. We greatly appreciate everyone's understanding during this difficult time, and are working with the pre-planned charitable events to attempt to secure alternative locations and otherwise determine mutually agreeable ways for Prince's estate to have a positive impact on the affected charities."
Mixed Blood will refund ticket holders' money, Reuler said. He said his company will determine expenses and staff time incurred and seek redress from Prince's estate.
One ticket holder, Troy Swanson of Tower, Minn., said he reached out to Prince's trust, which was appointed after the music icon was found dead on April 21.
"I wrote to Bremer … and gave them my opinion, which includes the fact that everything that happens in the next few years regarding Prince will be remembered forever," he said in an e-mail. "Denying loving Prince fans and supporters of the Mixed Blood Theatre a last Prince tribute at Paisley Park will never be forgotten or forgiven."
Reuler ruled out rescheduling the gala elsewhere or at another time. "Canceling a week out is too late for a Plan B," he said. "Will we try to do another event later? I think the answer is 'No.' You only have one 40th year."